A World Full of Color

March 14, 2018

 

God created a world full of color.

 

The first mention of color in the Bible is a reference to "every green plant" in Genesis 1: 30. But before that there are references to the seas, the sky, birds, cattle, wild animals, fish, and trees with fruit, 

 

I can't believe that these things were created in a colorless void. Simply because there is no mention of the Wizard of Oz moment when everything is suddenly colorful.

 

No, I believe that God created a world full of color.

 

God gave us a rainbow of colors as a sign of the "covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)

 

Colors have always had meaning.

 

Yellow is associated with illness.

 

Brown with earth.

 

Green with food and life.

 

Red, and variations of red, have several meanings, at least in the Bible.  The Bible mentions red, scarlet and crimson. We tend to use them interchangeably, but in the Bible, red is associated with blood. Scarlet with salvation. Only the book of Matthew notes that Jesus was clothed in a scarlet robe briefly before being taken away to be crucified. 

 

Crimson joins purple and blue in the list of colors denoting authority and royalty. These are the colors designated for decorating the vestments and curtains in the Tabernacle housing the Ark of the Covenant.

 

White is associated with purity.

 

Colors make us feel things. They can make us feel anxious or calm, sad or happy.

 

Dyes for all these colors can be created with natural products. Dying fabric provides people a way to decorate their clothing and in previous eras, to provide distinctions between classes.  Dyes are made from plants and berries, sea life, trees, and bugs.

 

Natural dyes fade over time.

 

But for crimson, blue, and purple, permanent dyes have been available for millennia. The colors came from shellfish and insects. And they were expensive, which is why these became the colors used by royalty and those in authority.

 

I presume our church ancestors were aware of all this when they created the colors associated with our church year. It is fitting that red is the color for church festival days. That blue is the color of Advent and preparation for Jesus' birth. That purple is the color of Lent and preparation for Jesus' death. That white is the color of Easter.

 

Our church will go through a variety of color changes in a few weeks as we observe Holy Week. We will go from the red of Palm Sunday to the purple of Maundy Thursday to the black of Good Friday, to the white of the Easter Vigil and Easter morning.

 

Appreciate the way the colors make you feel. They tell an old story.

 

- Ann Warner

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